Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet Abe on Saturday for a “working meeting”. The pair are expected to discuss regional security issues, the now de-funked Trans Pacific Partnership and potential policies of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
“We are committed to advancing our economic, investment and trade relationship, our defense and security cooperation, and our common commitment to a secure and prosperous region,” Turnbull said in a statement on Wednesday.
The visit is the first for Abe after ties between the two countries soured after Turnbull’s government chose French company DCNS for its lucrative submarine contract, reneging on former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s informal agreement.
Defense analysts have said the French build was indeed superior to the Japanese, given DCNS had experience in building a boat to meet Australia’s requirements and the potential for a nuclear fit out at a future date.
Likewise it’s the first opportunity for two key regional U.S. allies to discuss what Trump’s election means for U.S. foreign policy, but also to what extent Australia and Japan will be required to do more “heavy lifting on a more inward looking U.S.,” University of Sydney professor of Australian political culture and foreign policy James Curran told Xinhua.
“There’s been all sorts of talk on the need for allies like Australia, Japan and India to get together to do more given we simply don’t know what Trump’s focus is going to be in the region, ” said the professor.
Abe will arrive in Australia after visiting the Philippines where he is expected to meet President Rodrigo Duterte at his home in Davao City on Friday.